Oskaloosa Sends 2023 Grads Into Their Future

Oskaloosa High School Graduation 2023

Oskaloosa High School Graduation 2023

May 21st, 2023

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Oskaloosa Class of 2023 made their way across the stage today and opened the door to the remainder of their future.

But before that, some of their classmates and instructors shared some advice to help guide them along the way.

Mike Fisher, Superintendent of Oskaloosa Schools said, “The old proverb is it takes a village to raise a child. And you see that today we have a village here.”

Fisher went on to thank members of that village for the “selfless sacrifice you make doing a really hard job.”

In closing, Fisher added, “I’ll just leave you with two pieces of advice. Stay Hungry and stay humble. Stay hungry, go out, and make the world a better place. Be motivated.”

“Be humble,” Fisher continued. “It doesn’t mean think less of yourself. It just means think of yourself a little less often. But God bless you, and good luck.”

Then four graduating seniors shared some words with their classmates. Myles Strait, Elliot Nelson, Alexandra Nolan, and Anderson Keough took turns at the podium.

Myles Strait shared, “In all seriousness, the OHS Senior class is just like an actual family, mostly in the sense that you didn’t get a say in whether or not you’re a part of it. The reality is that we’ve spent a significant portion of our lives growing and developing together. The bonds you formed with those around you go so much deeper than you may think. The people to your left and right have had some influence and how you’ve evolved into who you are at one point or another during your time at the school. I can speak for the majority when I say we all came to the school not knowing who we were or who we were supposed to be. But as our time here draws to an end, it’s become clear that our time here wasn’t about understanding who we are. High school was a time for us to spend with this family, changing and discovering and begin developing into who we want to be in this world. We’ve all grown up together, but now’s the time we leave onto our individual paths in life. While we may be leaving, our memories of this school and our memories of each other will stay together for years to come. The bonds you’ve formed here won’t simply disappear because, once again, like an actual family, you’re stuck with them for life.”

“Like a proud parent I will cheer you on as you go through life while also criticizing your tastes and music and boyfriends along the way,” added Strait.

Elliot Nelson shares his speech during Sunday's graduation.

Elliot Nelson shares his speech during Sunday’s graduation.

Elliot Nelson was next to address the class. “The journey for how we got here today, sitting in these uncomfortably warm robes, is completely different for each and every person. Of course, our journeys included a lot of shared experiences.”

“In elementary school. These included the excitement whenever we got to watch Bill Nye the Science Guy or the silence when the lights were turned off in the cafeteria from disruptive behavior,” said Nelson. “Middle School, we enjoyed the world-famous sub shop, the slightly cringy [inaudible], and the missing bathroom doors. In high school, COVID putting an entire pause on our freshman year. Since then, large amounts of homework and difficult classes have challenged our capability to succeed. Activities, work, or life in general have continued to spread us thin. Shared situations span our entire high school career.”

“No matter how small it was, someone made an impact on you. Take a second to think about how you got to this point, a 2023 graduate,” shared Nelson, who shared about an experience in elementary school that impacted him.

“As we go out into the world, I only advise two things. Help instead of hurt in the world. And you have the incredible potential to be a butterfly’s wings flapping. The reason why someone succeeds, so always be kind. To conclude, shared experiences built the experience and life in the home that is Oskaloosa. But our journey of this moment has all been different and thus demonstrates the strength and capability of the Oskaloosa graduating class of 2023,” said Nelson.

Alexandra Nolan then shared some of her thoughts with the Class of 2023.

“Today, we are all gathered to celebrate the people we have become and the new chapters in our lives we’re starting. I’m sure everyone feels like it’s still the first day of high school, and you walked through those office doors, not really knowing what was going to happen,” shared Nolan. “We have fought many battles through high school. These battles may include never truly getting a full freshman year or sophomore year. We fought through high school for friendships, relationships, grades, and for some of us, something to do after high school. These battles have some days pushed us to our limits. I’m sure every single one of us has wanted to give up or quit. But then we remembered that everything we do has a purpose; it has an opportunity to be the best thing we have ever done.”

Members of the Oskaloosa High School Class of 2023 listen as their classmates share words of advice.

Members of the Oskaloosa High School Class of 2023 listen as their classmates share words of advice.

“I feel like as a class, we work to ensure that every moment we have is pushing us to the next level,” shared Nolan. “For some of us, that accomplishment is in our grades. For others, it is in the best performances of our lives. And for some, it is winning a game. But this accomplishment is not always the moment that we hold most dear. The best moment for some of us is the anticipation, the traditions you do before a big game, or the excitement after you’ve accomplished something great. For the class of 2023, I feel like today we have all accomplished greatness. We are holding these moments dear, and we’re holding our friends even closer as we feel feelings of nostalgia, joy, excitement, fear, worry, readiness, sadness, and happiness.”

“I can’t wait to see where everyone goes after we close this chapter in our lives and start a new one,” Nolan said as she began closing her speech.

Anderson Keough was the last to address his classmates.

“Throughout high school, we have learned many things in math, science, reading, history, art, and more. However, some of the most important lessons we’ve learned are outside the realms of academics,” said Keough, and he talked about some of the most important lessons he learned in high school, and that was to not be afraid to ask for help.

“I used to hold a sort of pride in always knowing the right answer, and I would always feel shame or embarrassment in not knowing. I felt as if everyone was expecting and depending on me to always have the answer even though I was learning the same material at the same time. But eventually, I learned that you don’t always need to know the correct answer. And it’s okay to ask those around you for help. Since then, I have learned so much more in and out of school,” shared Keough.

“I don’t think I can make my way through daily life without the help of my friends and family. The distinct barrier to asking for help is pride, added Keough. “Pride and confidence will get you far in life. But it is important to know when to back down too. I promise you, you will learn a lot faster and be a lot smarter if you can swallow your pride and seek the help that you need from others.”

In closing, Keough shared, “And remember, no matter how separated and alone you feel there are always people who are happy to help you. All it takes is to reach out and find them.”

After a performance by the OHS Choir, the names of the graduates were read, and the graduates walked across the stage to become alums of Oskaloosa High School.

Posted by on May 21 2023. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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